The Three: A Novel

( 11 )

Overview

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes,...

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Overview

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed 'The Three' by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children's behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/31/2014
Lotz has published “urban horror” and young adult zombie novels with collaborators and under pseudonyms, but this disappointing book is the first to appear under her real name. Its premise is promising: four planes crash on the same day in Japan, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, respectively, leaving three survivors, all young children: Hiro in Japan, Bobby in New York, and Jessica in London (no one, apparently, survived the crash in Johannesburg). The very act of their survival and the coincidence of the crashes understandably unnerve the whole world and prompt all manner of conspiracy theories (terrorists? aliens?), which go viral, of course, online. One adult, Pamela May Donald, a devout Christian from Texas, survives the crash in Japan long enough to phone her husband, and her final words provide opportunistic televangelists the chance to proclaim this a harbinger of the Rapture. The novel is presented in the guise of a nonfiction book, Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy by Elspeth Martins, which is itself a pastiche of every conceivable genre: chat room transcripts, blog posts, news articles, and interviews (no chapter is more than a few pages long). But this approach involves dozens of characters, many of them peripheral to the central storyline, and the result reads like a faulty mash-up: plenty of bits and pieces (often well rendered by Lotz), but they don’t coalesce into a real narrative with the kind of momentum or urgency that the premise calls for. Agent: Oli Munson, A.M. Heath & Company. (May)
From the Publisher
"The Three is really wonderful, a mix of Michael Crichton and Shirley Jackson. Hard to put down and vastly entertaining."—Stephen King

"Lotz is a ferociously imaginative storyteller whose twisty plots will kick the stairs out from under you. She's a talent to watch."—Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

"A spellbinding tale of science fiction, religious fervor and media madness that makes us wonder who, exactly, are the monsters."—The Washington Post

A "fascinating and deeply creepy novel . . . [Lotz] spins a tail of disaster and fanaticism that is both entertaining and scarily realistic. The Three is the real deal: gripping, unpredictable and utterly satisfying."—BookPage

"This absorbing novel seems at times like a descendant of Lost: an irresistible premise involving a plane crash, a superb feel for the uncanny . . . Across a clever range of forms, including Skype interviews, tape recordings and transcripts from Internet forums, the truth slowly emerges. The Three is nicely researched and hard to put down."—USA Today

"Lotz does an excellent job of building suspense...THE THREE provides plenty of assurance that Lotz is a new horror writer who can inject some much needed originality and gusto into the genre."—The San Francisco Chronicle

Lauren Beukes
"Lotz is a ferociously imaginative storyteller whose twisty plots will kick the stairs out from under you. She's a talent to watch."
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-17
Lone survivors from different plane crashes spark apocalyptic fears.South African screenwriter Lotz's new thriller revolves around the fictitious events of "Black Thursday," Jan. 12, 2012, when four planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. As if that weren't frightening enough, the drama is intensified when the public learns about the cryptic last message of a woman who died on one of the planes and the odd coincidence that in three of the crashes, a single child survived. When the children are returned to their families, they seem different somehow, and they become the focus of rumors ranging from alien activity to paranormal messaging. In the U.S., the hysteria is brought to a head by a fundamentalist preacher who sees the children as the harbingers of the End Times referenced in the book of Revelation. While the media hounds the survivors' families, politicians exploit the public's apocalyptic fears to take domestic and foreign policy in a new direction. Lotz tells the story through a fabricated nonfiction book within the novel called Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy: Inside the Phenomenon of The Three, written by the fictional Elspeth Martins, who says she's pieced together an amalgam of email messages, interviews, articles, online chat forums and memoirs. This eclectic style of storytelling provides just enough information to follow the developing events, while the reader grasps for the crucial information that will solve the mystery of the enigmatic children.An engaging thriller with clues that will keep you guessing.
Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
Lotz, a South African screenwriter and novelist, unspools a creepy thriller about four simultaneous plane crashes that stun the world. At three of the crash sites, a lone child survivor is found. And at one site, a fatally wounded passenger records an ominous message on her cell phone just before she dies. Told through a series of interviews conducted by a journalist investigating "Black Thursday," as the crash date comes to be known, we quickly discover that the three survivors are different children from who they were before the accidents. Are they merely traumatized? Are their families and caretakers imagining things? Or, as some fervently believe, are they harbingers of death and a sign that the apocalypse is near? VERDICT Lotz is an excellent storyteller, and she favors subtle innuendo over big shocks. Her unsettling tale builds to a crescendo that will have readers leaving the lights on long after they finish the book. Recommended for fans of sf and apocalyptic thrillers by authors such as Justin Cronin and Stephen King. [See Prepub Alert, 11/10/14.]—Amy Hoseth, Colorado State Univ. Lib., Fort Collins
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316242905
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 76,500
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Lotz is a screenwriter and pulp fiction novelist with a fondness for the macabre and fake names. Among other things, she writes urban horror novels under the name SL Grey with author Louis Greenberg and a YA zombie series with her daughter, Savannah, under the name Lily Herne. She lives in Cape Town with her family and other animals.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    I won't say that Lotz is a bad writer, as she does know how to w

    I won't say that Lotz is a bad writer, as she does know how to weave a story with good characters and is convincing in her understanding of real elements like different cultures and industries. But in a nutshell I think this book is "all sizzle and no steak." The premise leads you into the story believing that the children who survive the plane crashes are going to figure prominently in the story line. And in my opinion, the children and their actions and interactions are sidelined to all the other characters and their actions (and there are many characters to keep up with). At the end of each chapter, I was thinking the next chapter would surely involve more of what is happening directly with the children. But it never happened. If you condensed the book down to what the children actually do or say or what is done directly to them, the book would be about 20 pages long. Meh. Still feeling shortchanged.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    Incredible - read this book NOW

    The definition of a page turner...I read it in 2 days and didn't want it to end. The way the author has structured the book - an expose of the fictional event - was amazing. The characters were interesting and I had to find out what happened to them. The event itself is one that you could easily imagine happening today, which made it all the more unsettling. Easily the best book I have read in years. Read it now, you will not regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2014

    Disappointed

    The first few pages were promising but i was expecting more about the survivors to appear in the plot. Not what i expected & by page 200 i had to force myself to finish the book in case i missed something. I should have known that if a book has not hooked you by page 200 it would not get better. I am an avid reader of many genres & wanted The Three to be good, but it failed to meet my expectations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Rarely do not finish a book, but this one, no matter how hard I

    Rarely do not finish a book, but this one, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get past 100 pages or so. The writing is so disjointed it is very difficult to follow the plot and the story. You don't have time to get to know a character before the author jumps to a new story line. I would not recommend this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    Read in one day - amazing and awesome ending!!!

    Read in one day - amazing and awesome ending!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

    This is a terrible book. Don't waste your time!

    This is a terrible book. Don't waste your time!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2014

    An interesting book

    An interesting book hard to put down but the ending was a bit unsatisfying.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

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    Posted August 7, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

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